We're convinced that the family-integrated church model is the biblical model for "doing church", that the current model, that of separating into age and special interest groups during the regular meetings of the church is ... well ... unbiblical.
The latter denies the specific commands, patterns, and principles found throughout the whole of Scripture which exhort fathers, as heads of their households, to disciple their own children, as opposed to handing the responsibility over to others, which is the case in the vast majority of Christian homes. It denies the Word which teaches that the Body is one, with individuals in the Body having been given different, yet complimentary, gifts. By separating into age or special interest groups - meaning children's groups, youth groups, single's groups, young married's groups, women's groups, men's groups, senior's groups, etc. - the Body as a whole is robbed of the precious and powerful giftings of the other members of the Body, and there is virtually no example of such to be found in the Bible. Yet, it's common practice. Makes one wonder why that is?
The Lord has clearly been challenging many to reconsider the current church model, to look to the Word, as opposed to relatively recent church tradition and worldly culture, to determine what should occur in the meeting of the Body of Christ, and it's been very encouraging to see what God is doing in the hearts and minds of individuals, pastors, and elders across the nations.
The family-integrated model, however, has been somewhat misunderstood. Some assume that churches which identify by that name are for families only, for those with a father, mother, and children in the home, that it is not a church for singles, widows and widowers, single parents raising children on their own, infertile couples, or couples whose families have grown. Nothing could be further from the truth.
By family-integrated we mean, the "family of God", not merely individual families of a specific make-up, integrated as they sing praises to our glorious God, as they hear the Word taught and preached with wisdom and authority, and are lovingly ministered to, as they, themselves, minister to others, regardless of age or marital status.
What could possibly be more beneficial than having those who've already raised children walking alongside young parents, sharing the wisdom God has imparted to them throughout the years? Or to have the aged teach the young in all matters of faith and practice within the context of family? Psalm 66 tells us that God sets the lonely in families, what better place for a single young man or woman, or a widow or widower, to be made to feel as if they're an integral part of the Body of Christ, but in the family of God, incorporated into all aspects of church life, as opposed to shunted off to back rooms only with others of like age or who have similar circumstances? That single parent struggling alone to raise his or her children, how much more blessed they'd be to have godly fathers and mothers come alongside to assist, practically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Family-integrated worship incorporates the entire Body of Christ in the meeting of the church. The Scriptures give us no other example. May we return to the old paths, those biblically superior paths.
For more information on the family-integrated model, please visit the NCFIC (National Center For Family-Integrated Churches) website, a non-denominational site dedicated to encouraging believers to consider the importance of how we operate as families and as churches. Be stretched and encouraged to re-think what you're doing and why you're doing it. Ask yourself, are age and special interest meetings what the Word of God teaches or otherwise supports? If you take the time to diligently study the Word and prayerfully consider this issue, we suspect you'll conclude that the answer is no. For an excellent explanation of the issue, you might also consider ordering Scott Brown's book, A Weed In The Church .